Dragoljub Velimirovic, 1942–2014

by ChessBase
5/26/2014 – He was noted for his attacking style and possessed a great gift for visualizing sacrificial possibilities. Whilst spectacular chess made him popular with onlookers, each game required a great effort and this handicapped his quest for international success. Dragoljub Velimirovi died last Thursday. In his eulogy Andrew Martin honors the Master of Attacks with a beautiful annotated game.

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Dragoljub Velimirović, 1942 – 2014

By IM Andrew Martin

The great Serbian attacking grandmaster Dragoljub Velimirović sadly passed away on the 22nd of May 2014, aged 72. He became an International Master in 1972 and a grandmaster in 1973. He represented Yugoslavia in no less than six Olympiads, and he was three times Yugoslav Champion.

Dragoljub Velimirovic at Snowdrops vs Oldhands 2010

It was Velimirovic's spectacular attacking style that endeared him to chess fans all over the world. He made significant contributions to chess theory in black opening systems such as the Benoni and the Sicilian. Of course his most famous contribution to theory is the Velimirovic Attack in the Sozin Variation of the Classical Sicilian (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Be3 Be7 8.Qe2 intending 9.0-0-0). It was Velimirovic who worked out all the early fine details of this violent attacking continuation.

Tereza Olšarová playing (and losing to) Velimirovic

As a small tribute to Velimirovic I have chosen one of his most interesting attacking games. It comes from the Skopje tournament in 1971.

Dragoljub Velimirović

Dragoljub Velimirović was born in Valjevo, Yugoslavia on 12 May 1942. He was introduced to chess at the age of seven by his mother Jovanka Velimirovic (1910–1972), who was one of Yugoslavia's leading women chess players before World War II. He lived in Belgrade from 1960.

FIDE awarded him the International Master title in 1972 and Grandmaster title in 1973. He won the Yugoslav Chess Championship three times, in Vrnjacka Banja 1970 (with Milan Vukic), in Novi Sad 1975 (outright) and in Nikšic/Belgrade 1997 (also outright).

Velimirovic was selected for the Yugoslav national team many times, one of the earliest occasions being for the USSR vs Yugoslavia match at Ohrid 1972, during which he notably defeated Rafael Vaganian in the first round. At the European Team Championship between 1970 and 1977 he excelled, winning a number of silver and bronze medals, both for individual and team performances. At the Chess Olympiad in Nice 1974, he took two silver medals (one team, one individual). A further silver medal followed from his participation at the World Team championship in Lucerne 1989.[2]

In World championship cycles, he was the winner of Zonal tournaments in Praia da Rocha 1978 and Budva 1981. He participated at three Interzonal tournaments in Rio de Janeiro 1979, Moscow 1982 and in Szirák 1987, but was never able to qualify for the Candidates phase. His early tournament results included Skopje 1971 (2nd=, behind Lev Polugaevsky, equal with Albin Planinc), Vrnjacka Banja 1973 (1st),[3] Novi Sad 1976 (2nd, behind Jan Smejkal, ahead of Vlastimil Hort and Svetozar Gligoric) and Albufeira 1978 (1st, ahead of Ljubomir Ljubojevic). He sustained the effort into the 1980s and early 90s, adding further victories at Titograd 1984, Vršac 1987 and Niksic 1994.

Dragoljub Velimirović died on May 22, 2014, at the age of 72 in Belgrade after a prolonged illness. He was survived by his wife. There was a ceremony in Velimirovic's honour on May 26, 2014 at the Chess Association of Serbia, followed by his cremation and funeral at the New Cemetery in Belgrade.

Source: Wikipedia

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